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Business Student Renee Hogan Receives Lincoln Laureate Award

Friday, November 3, 2017

Senior Renee Hogan is setting the bar high for non-traditional, or returning, students. Despite all the adversity she has faced throughout her life, Renee has excelled academically and most recently was honored as 2017 Lincoln Laureate Award recipient.

This award, presented by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, is given to top students representing Illinois' colleges and universities who have overcome obstacles on the way to achieving academic excellence and providing community service.

The 43rd annual award ceremony took place on November 11 at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield, where Renee received a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Medallion, a certificate of achievement and a check for $1,000 from Governor Bruce Rauner, the President of the Lincoln Academy and First Lady Diana Rauner.   

Renee, majoring in business management, was nominated by Anne Drougas, professor of finance and accounting.

"When I first received an email requesting nominations for this award, I immediately thought of Renee," Drougas said. "When you first meet Renee, she may seem quiet and understated; however, sometimes a person has more influence by listening to people first and speaking later. That's Renee. While Renee grew up in an impoverished section of Chicago and may not have been rich in a monetary sense, she recognizes that she is rich in so many other important ways: faith, fortitude, family, friends, and laser-like focus on her goals." 

Renee didn't know much about the Lincoln Laureate Award prior to being nominated and is grateful to have been given this experience. She has served as president, now vice president, of Brennan's AACSB-accredited business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), and has attended two global leadership conferences on behalf of the organization, representing Brennan in case competitions and entrepreneurial think tank simulations.

"Initially, I thought the award was something that Dominican offered and then I found out it was something that was statewide and I was humbled and grateful that I came to mind," Hogan said. "It is a prestigious honor to be nominated, even if I had not been chosen. It was so humbling and, at the end of the day, I do thank God for everything that I have accomplished and for every obstacle that I have been able to overcome because I wouldn't have been able to do it without my faith supporting me and keeping me grounded."

In 2010 Renee was involved in an accident that left her in a coma. After she regained consciousness, Renee decided to take charge of her life, returning to school in 2012 at City Colleges of Chicago to study business.

"You have to take the first step," Hogan said. "You don't know if it's for you, if you will fail or succeed, if you don't take the first step. When I returned to school, I was in a wheelchair so my husband had to roll me into City Colleges. At first it was tough being out of my comfort zone, unable to move about freely, but I realized that when you achieve something it becomes infectious. When I achieved my associates degree, I was infected with the academic bug and I decided to continue. So I say take the first step even if there's going to be fear because there is going to be fear. Find the help you need and take charge of your own destiny."

Even though she is a non-traditional student, Renee believes that she is able to achieve whatever she sets her mind to, despite hardships, with the support of her family and Dominican faculty and staff.  

"Coming back to school and learning new techniques and business ideas, especially in the age of technology, has helped me tremendously to add to the business knowledge I already had," Hogan said. "My family has been pushing me on every step of the way, encouraging me and telling me that I can do it. There are times where you may get a little worn and the work may seem over your head, but the support from my family and from those at Dominican means a lot."

In March of 2017 Renee joined other students from the Brennan School of Business on a trip to Ghana, Africa.     

"I'm still riding high off of that experience," Hogan said. "I always wanted to travel to Africa and never thought, especially the older I got, that it was going to happen for me. Once again, Dominican stepped in and was able to offer me the experience of leaving North America for the first time in my life and seeing how people across the water live. I am a person that believes we have more in common than not, wherever we exist on the planet. Maybe economics is what divides us, maybe sometimes education or political things, but as a species I just believe we have more in common than not. To go to Ghana and eat Ghanaian food and speak with Ghanaian people, I saw how much we do have in common."

Renee is currently working in talent acquisition and hopes to continue to work with people, applying her new knowledge of business and ethics to a career in consulting. She also wants to return to Dominican to get her MBA.

"Dominican, for me, has provided a safe place," Hogan said. "A place where I feel like I can get the extra help or the needed attention as a non-traditional student. Dominican has provided a lot of things for me that perhaps, if I were at a larger university, I would not be able to accomplish. My plans after graduation are to go back to work, full-time. I would like to go into consulting, especially on an ethical level. I'd like to see more ethical behavior in companies so that they're not just in it for the bottom line but also considering communities and people in general. More companies need to see that it's not just their shareholders but their stakeholders, whether those be internal or external, that are a part of the global community. There is no business without the people."